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A survivor at heart

She gave up her job and took a major leap of faith to compete in Survivor SA: Islands of Secrets earlier this year. Despite being the first person to be eliminated from the reality TV show, Lee-Anne van Renen says it was all part of her path.
Lee-Anne is a tough blonde. She has had her fair share of lows in life, from miscarriages to struggles with depression and weight wars. But instead of hiding it, she is open about her dark moments with the hope that it will help others in the same shoes.

“I always looked for affirmation in the wrong places because of my low self-esteem. I took part in beauty competitions, desperate for people to think I was good enough. When I won Mrs Cape Town in 2018, I was on top of the world. Then, I entered Mrs SA and didn’t even make the top 25. This spiralled me into deep depression, as I could not understand what was wrong with me,” says Lee-Anne, who recently moved to Umhlanga with her husband and two daughters.

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When she decided to audition for Survivor SA, she, again, was looking for an opportunity to prove herself. Receiving the news that she was chosen to take part in the reality TV programme was very exciting and Lee-Anne thought it would be a turning point in life.
But life on the island was tough, says Lee-Anne. Nothing was sugar-coated or comfortable behind the scenes.

“It is proper reality TV. It rained all day and night while I was on the island and we were wet and freezing cold for 24 hours! I remember taking my extensions out, rolling them up and putting them in my shoes to try to keep them dry because everything was so wet.”
Unfortunately, the dream came to an end before it really started as the tribe had spoken and voted her off in the first show. But that hasn’t stopped her.
Although she was ‘back in a dark hole’ when she returned home, Lee-Anne says she found herself going on a course to learn about The Secret – and it was a lightbulb moment for her.

“Learning about the power of positive thinking and understanding that your thoughts are like a big magnet that draws everything to you was a concept that I fell in love with. I have since become a life coach with School of Life-Global and am addicted to speaking to people and getting them into a positive space. I have learnt that it’s the size of your heart that matters, not your thighs.”

Details: Instagram @leeanne_mrscapetown2018_

Text: Elana Wagner

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